Thankfulness is on my mind today. I’m writing this article on the Monday before Thanksgiving and I’ve been reading a few articles that have titles like Ten Things I’m Thankful For.
One just showed up in my email. It was from a resort I spent a weekend at earlier in the year. One of the things they were thankful for was the clairity of the water in the lake their resort borders and another thing was loons.
I serve one church in Hibbing, and another one in Chisholm. I live in Tower, so I’m thankful for good roads, and I’m thankful for only having a small amount of car trouble this year.
I put on a lot of miles and I see wildlife on the road. I see deer on a regular basis. I see fox now and then. I don’t think I saw any moose this year, but I did see two wolves one evening.
Many times I drive over the causeway when entering or leaving Chisholm. That isn’t the shortest route to my church, but I like to see the waterfowl on the lake. I’ve seen many ducks and geese. I’ve also seen loons, swans, and herons. I’m thankful for getting to see them all.
I’m not thankful for cancer. I am thankful for the progress that has been made in treating cancer. My daughter has had surgery, radiation and chemotherapy this past year. We are cautiously optimistic about her future. I am thankful for the prayers of those who care about her, the professionals who treated her and the support of her friends, coworkers, and her employer.
My grandmother had a similar cancer in 1958. She did not have an MRI, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. She died as did most people who had a similar diagnosis in the 1950s.
This morning shortly after I got out of bed I did 30 push-ups. Then I poured a bowl of cereal and a glass of juice. I heated two pieces of toast, ate breakfast, took my blood pressure medication and a daily vitamin pill. After breakfast I did another 30 push-ups, shaved and showered. I am thankful for food, and even thankful for medicine and vitamins. I am thankful for having health that allows me to exercise, for having heat in my home and hot water for my shower.
As a pastor I am thankful for baptisms. Baptisms are generally joyful events for everyone involved. I am thankful to have a part in them. I am also thankful when I am able to officiate at a wedding. I pray that God will shower blessings on newly married couples and I pray that God will lead and guide those who are newly baptised.
I am not thankful when someone dies. I am thankful to be able to share God’s promises with those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. I believe in the promise of forgiveness of sins, the promise of the resurrection and the promise of a better life, where we will be with God and with our savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful that the scriptures contain wonderful promises and I am thankful to have those promises to share at times when people ought to be reminded of those promises.
I hope all of you are thankful for many things this year and I hope you have many more things to be thankful for in the years to come.
Pastor Brian Birk